Just when you think you know of the most important people in the fashion world, in comes Grisel. A Dominican-born model-turned-designer who once gave us sassy slogan tees at Custom Plus is shaking things up again with Rebdolls. Her new company will only be turning a year old in a few months but it is already making waves as a fashion forward, sexy line at affordable prices. But don’t let the price tags ll you into thinking that it is low quality. Grisel says she is committed to “sourcing durable and cost effective” textiles so that Rebdolls can fulfill a market of trendy plus clothing at a budget friendly price, the same way Custom Plus used to be. So why the transition in business model and expansion of design?
“Initially, the vision of Custom-Plus was ‘Unapologetic Tee Shirts’. We were on that track. Then I figured, Why just limit it to tee shirts? Why can’t fashion be unapologetic, in general?” Grisel explains.
We couldn’t agree with her more. Women of all sizes deserve an opportunity to express their fashion sense no matter how rebellious. Though there are more options available in 12+ Grisel feels that the industry may be playing it too safe. “A lot of what I saw was just so safe and repetitive: flowy hip length tops, unflattering prints, and dull colours. I wanted women to have more options, more fun with their clothes… (the line) was inspired by fearless women who are not afraid to make bold statements with their fashion choices. Rebdolls is meant to represent a generation of women who embrace fashion and are not limited by the connotations of size.” Inspired by the bold, rocker style of Balmain and the contrasting simplicity of Michael Kors, Grisel blends both of these artistic influences into fun, striking pieces. It may sound cacophonous but it comes together beautifully to illustrate her general ethos about style: “Why conform to what is considered ideal? Instead rebel against society’s standard of what is beautiful and make it your own.”
What makes Grisel and Rebdolls so exciting is that they are not just blazing a trail for plus size fashion but the industry as a whole. Rebdolls is on the front lines of a new size equality movement that we certainly hope will sweep retail across the globe. They are one of the few pioneers who offer an equal shopping experience for all women sizes 0 to 28. All too often we go to the shops with our diverse group of gal pals only to nd ourselves segregated by shop location or completely shut out by being too plus or too petite for most stores. “Honestly, I don’t understand why no one else (carries sizes 0 through 28). Rebdolls is about size diversity, so when I design, it’s not about only about the ‘Plus Size’ woman or the ‘Misses’ (sic) size woman; it’s about the garment. I think about how a woman feels wearing it, where she’s going in it, and will it be a staple piece in her wardrobe.” Geisel says explaining her design process. “The answers to those questions do not change based whether the woman is a size small or a 4X. I do not think unapologetic fashion is something that only plus women want nor is it something that just missy women want… All women want chic, affordable clothing options, and Rebdolls is here for that.” This gorgeous designer is ready for a new trend she calls an “emergence of more fashion when more fashion designers start designing past a size 14.” On the topic of size acceptance and equality it isn’t just about access to trends and ability to shop in the same shops but about a frame of mind that all women regardless of size must be thought of carefully when designing and marketing. “I think the plus size woman deserves to be catered to, just as a misses (sic) sized woman,” she elaborates.
All of this success and excitement didn’t come to her overnight however. After struggling for years to gure out what she wanted out of life, “You know, how we all have that “thing” we’re meant to do in life, I’m happy to say I’ve found mine.”
With a successful new company, good looks and down-to-earth nature, Grisel seems to have it all together. Even with all that con dence we know that sometimes we can all have our con dence shaken – especially plus sized women who often are the target of public fat shaming. Even celebrities like Kelly Clarkson was recently bullied in the media for her weight gain. When discussing these issues Grisel once again shows us her cool side. “I would say, Eff the naysayers! There must be something about you as a person that stirs their own insecurities, and the best way for them to deal with that is to lash out at you. I’ve never been one to support any form of bullying, mainly because I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of it…The most important thing is when you look in the mirror, the only perception or opinion that matters is your own.”
Wise words, Grisel. Very wise words.
We cannot wait too see what is next for her and will be watching Rebdolls eagerly.
Words: Renee Cafaro
Shop Rebdolls: www.rebdolls.com
Originally Published in Issue 16 of SLiNK magazine